Britain's whip rules relaxed after complaints

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LONDON (AP) -- The whip rules in British horse racing have been relaxed slightly after an outcry from jockeys over harsh punishments.

The British Horseracing Authority said Tuesday the new regulations add more "discretion and common sense" to the rule book. Starting Thursday, jockeys will no longer be given automatic penalties for using the whip eight times in flat races and nine over jump races.

Stewards will instead review the ride in question before deciding whether a penalty is warranted.

Paul Bittar, BHA chief executive, says "a rule which polices the use of the whip based solely on a fixed number of strikes is fundamentally flawed."

The Professional Jockeys Association welcomed revisions to the regulations Tuesday, saying "the previous penalty structure was not appropriate."